Yes, it will be to a land far, far away, but not where “gray mists hide the tops of green forests, and deep snows crown sawtoothed peaks.” It will be on the other side of those storied mountains, where moisture-laden Pacific winds die a parched death, and a semi-arid steppe swaddled in sagebrush and cheatgrass sprawls from horizon to horizon.
Ah, but I will not die of thirst there, for it is wine country, with irrigated vineyards springing forth like new subdivisions in Atlanta. California vintners have reason to worry, But I do not. A sip—or two or three—a day keeps writer’s block at bay. (I don’t know if that’s true, but I saw it on Facebook, so it must be.)
And I will write. Barbara, who has become my business consultant, has already confirmed that. Schloss Bernard was her idea. Not only that, but my publisher has chimed in, saying it would like to see a new manuscript by the end of 2022. Further, it would like to have a few details about the work on hand by the time my newest publication, When Heroes Flew: The Roof of the World, hits the market in a few months.
But wait, I need to take a deep breath and slow down. Barbara and I are at the stage of life where the guys in Pakistan have stopped calling to offer us extended warranties. Thus, while there’s still a whiff of fuel in our tanks and a sheen of rubber on our treads, we’d like to do some traveling. After all, there’s a lot to see in the PacNW . . . as a couple of gentlemen from the East—who floated down a river called the Snake and bobbed into the Columbia just a few miles from where we’ll be living—discovered over two centuries ago.
I promise, the next book will come. But I want to ease into it. I want to explore, whack a few golf balls, and sit at my desk in Schloss Bernard where, when I’m not writing, I will be able to gaze out at the beauty of the castle grounds. Over many years, Barbara has nurtured a garden where roses and grapes shelter in the shade of towering ash and maple trees. And where a quartet of feral cats will probably not welcome Stormy.
And if I lift my gaze just a bit, I will see in the distance the tawny ridges of the Horse Heaven Hills. There, indigenous people likely stood watch over the mighty Columbia long before any visitors from the East arrived.
Long before Buzz Bernard and Stormy will have arrived.